One of the things we love most about working in the digital space is how much the landscape evolves. It keeps us on our toes here at Relish Studio and one of the main areas of interest of late has been responsive design and how to retro-fit sites not originally crafted to take advantage of this new way of addressing platform-agnostic delivery of information.
Creating websites from a mobile-first perspective (as outlined in Luke Wroblewski’s excellent book of the same title) is a nice way to approach content organization and guides the design and development processes from a less-is-more perspective. It also makes creating responsive web design significantly less arduous when compared to trying to convert an existing website to take advantage of this new way of thinking about site structure and framework. Smashing Magazine recently featured an article outlining the many hurdles associated with converting existing websites to work across a variety of devices and delivery-mechanisms and the challenges go much deeper than simply gnashing code until items display correctly on smaller screens. One must take a content-up approach to the problem from both intuitive and traffic-based perspectives to determine how your site will “degrade” as the screen real-estate diminishes. This may require a fuller look at your site structure and organization rather than simply cramming all of your content into a slimmed-down interface.
We are quickly becoming big fans of taking a step back at the start of any web design/development project to learn more about the expected audience, how they will engage the site on a variety of devices, and how to deliver the materials with which they will most need to interact first and then distill these to elevator pitches that get your message across as efficiently as possible.